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January 2015 Blog Posts (45)

Compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel tanks explode during truck fire

From time to time, hazards that we may have previously recognized as low-frequency encounters become something we are much more likely to face on a fire or other emergency response. Technology or culture evolves. A particular process or type of equipment becomes more prevalent in society. And we get to deal with that.

While the particular changes or improvements may be deemed to make life easier, cheaper, or otherwise more efficient or friendly for society — new hazards may manifest,…


Added by Ben Peetz on January 29, 2015 at 12:03pm — No Comments

Hump Day SOS: Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes

Who’s Gonna’ Fill Their Shoes

 In 1985 the late great George Jones release the country music hit, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” The song talks about…


Added by David Rhodes on January 28, 2015 at 6:57pm — No Comments

Zu Zu Man


“When I glance in the mirror of my career success and leadership, the reflection I see always has me standing behind those I could trust and those who trusted me.” Me

When I write and speak about leadership, motivation, teamwork and organizational success the discussion usually moves quickly to trust. When I ask “What is right”and“What needs attention” I often…


Added by Warren Cersley on January 27, 2015 at 3:48pm — No Comments


Placing a ladder during an incident is not the time to wish you would’ve trained more on ladders! It’s a simple tool, but one of the most important tools on your rig. So many tactical and safety factors are based on you being proficient with this large, heavy, and cumbersome piece of equipment. In fact, the lives of your fellow brothers and sisters, and the lives of the…


Added by Paul Combs on January 27, 2015 at 11:10am — No Comments

Who do you think you are?

I recently sat down and had coffee with a probationary firefighter to set him up with a training officer and discuss our expectations for the coming year. During this conversation I was hit by a question that’s been haunting my subconscious for years.  I began the meeting by asking our new Probie a few boiler plate questions: “What did you do before you decided to become a firefighter? Any related experience? Do…


Added by Jed Hyland on January 27, 2015 at 10:00am — No Comments

Water + molten steel = Massive steam explosion

When it comes to facilities handling molten steel and similar substances, firefighters must understand the implications of adding water during any fire suppression activities.

While the event described here was not directly related to an emergency response, this is an excellent example of what can result when water comes in contact with a high-temperature, high-density substance — which in turn, flash boils the water into a massive…


Added by Ben Peetz on January 27, 2015 at 9:15am — No Comments

Permission to Act

     I am 100% on board with the concept of SOP’s and SOG’s, so please don’t misinterpret this message. I also believe that in the absence of rules, people make their own. In a structured and dangerous profession like ours it’s important to have rules, regulations, policies and procedures. Its equally important that we train on our procedures and create muscle memory so that we can improve our chances of success and reduce the amount of unnecessary decisions…


Added by Frank Viscuso on January 26, 2015 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

When Communication is Crumbling

Many fire departments around the United States have problems. Let’s face it, times got tough and the fire service felt it. Many underlying issues are starting to show on how bad the fire service was affected. Pay, staffing issues, apparatus shut downs, station closures, and inexperience are some of the major issues that we are facing in today’s fire departments. One of the biggest issues that I feel we tend to overlook is communication. Communication makes the fire department…


Added by Cory Crosbie on January 25, 2015 at 5:19pm — No Comments

New Residential

The fire occurs on a Sunday morning at 6:45 am.  The house is 3800 sq. ft. and had four bedrooms. One on Division 1 and three on Division 2. Your crew is assigned Search.  There is 1 hose line stretched to the front door at the time you are assigned by the first arriving engine.  

How would you conduct your search?

            Entry point

            Type of search

            Where would you start? Division 1, 2 or basement!

            How would you and…


Added by Skip Coleman on January 23, 2015 at 12:01pm — 6 Comments

Glue vs. Gusset Plates...The Danger Surrounding Us!

It has been quite a few years since I have graduated college with a degree in building construction design. As I was growing up, I was always swinging a hammer high up on the roof trusses.  Little did I know, how valuable the knowledge and experience on building construction materials, elements, and structural members would so relevant to my life long dream of firefighting.  So many debates on lightweight construction and the hazards we face on the simplest run, make you wonder what reaction…


Added by Jeremy Rebok on January 22, 2015 at 4:07pm — No Comments


As already eluded to by several others, we have recognized that a small percentage of firefighters killed in the line of duty were engaged in fire attack (interior and wildland) or other suppression operations. From 2005-2012, 384 or 48.5% of firefighters died due to heart attack or stress/overexertion. On the other hand, 95 or 12% died as a result of asphyxiation, burns, collapse or trauma. 2013 and 2014 had similar percentages. The current state of the fire service has a heavy emphasis on…


Added by Andrew Zysk on January 22, 2015 at 3:51pm — No Comments

Just Be Nice. Is it Time for a Kinder, Gentler Fire Service?

Just Be Nice. Is it Time for a Kinder, Gentler Fire Service?

Joseph Kitchen, Bath Twp. Fire Department (Lima, Ohio)

Several years ago Chief Brunacini unveiled the Phoenix Fire Department mission…


Added by Joseph Kitchen on January 22, 2015 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Hump Day SOS - You Can't Change People

You Can’t Change People

Why is it that some individuals in authority think they are responsible for changing people? Is this a good or bad thing? Can you really change someone? We all hear stories of people who have…


Added by David Rhodes on January 21, 2015 at 2:57pm — No Comments



The teletypes would start to click and in all fire houses across the city and the watch person would announce that the results of the written portion of the promotional process had come out. Interested members would move to the desk to see the results. How did I do, how did my friends do, who is moving on to the assessment center…


Added by Warren Cersley on January 21, 2015 at 2:19pm — 1 Comment

A New Acronym to consider-UL (Universally Linking)

What does a two year firefighter and group of firefighters from the Netherlands have in common? No it’s not a joke but a great example of what Steve Kerber from UL along with Dan Madrzykowski from NIST have really done with the research data disseminated to our fire service, they have brought firefighters from across the globe together and talking about tactics and that is in my opinion the greatest lesson for us. Now back to the probie and the Dutch firefighters, I have had the privilege to…


Added by Joseph Pronesti on January 20, 2015 at 8:09pm — No Comments

Fireground Ballistics: Establishing Target Flows to Maximize Your Firestream Effectiveness

A firefighter who doesn’t establish and maintain a Target Flow with an attack line is like a cop not knowing the number or caliber of rounds in his weapon.  It’s reckless, unprofessional, and utterly inexcusable. If you’re going  into a fire fight. . .you’d better be ready to…


Added by Donald McD. Chambers on January 20, 2015 at 1:20pm — No Comments

Quick Tips on Tower Positioning

A fire on January 19, 2015 for the Harrisburg, PA. Bureau of Fire demonstrated some excellent teaching points for Drivers or Chauffeurs of Tower Ladders. The fire in the 300 Blk. of N. Front Street involved the top floor of a four story mixed occupancy structure. The first due truck was Tower 1 from the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire, the Driver positioned the rig with a perfect spot.…

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Added by Richard Riley on January 20, 2015 at 9:00am — No Comments

So, you want to be a firefighter?

I was recently asked to speak at the East Brandywine Volunteer Fire Company (Chester County, PA) 2015 Officer Installment ceremony. As Fire Chief John Edwards explained when he first contacted me, what began several years ago as an informal gathering to recognize newly appointed fire officers has evolved into an…


Added by Dan Kerrigan on January 20, 2015 at 9:00am — No Comments

Promoting Harmony in your department

What happens when firefighters don’t have information? They make it up!  I don’t have to tell you this; you already know. Sometimes it’s no big deal, but other times it can be detrimental to your department in many ways.

As members of the fire service we put our heart and sole into our work and our passion.  It’s only normal to feel that you want your efforts reciprocated in some form of respect. The type respect that gets us motivated to continue doing what we do is when the people…


Added by Paul Strong on January 19, 2015 at 11:00pm — No Comments

My Take Away From 2014

Since the end of 2014, I have been reading and listening to year end thoughts and data related to the fire service. There has been discussion on types of calls, near misses and, of course, line of duty deaths. Numbers are broken down and categorized for each type of injury or death that is fire service related and then scrutinized. In many cases these are supposed to be used as lessons and to determine the effectiveness of different messages from different mediums about the prevention of…


Added by Jason Hoevelmann on January 19, 2015 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

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